PETE FOWLER

Prog - - Intro - See pe­te­fowler.tum­blr.com.

It’s Prog Boy in the flesh and a case of crea­ture –

and cas­tle – com­forts for the artist-mu­si­cian.

Artist, il­lus­tra­tor, DJ and mu­si­cian Pete Fowler is no stranger to the pages of Prog. In the early days of the mag he ap­peared – with some favourite and very ex­per­i­men­tal sounds – as a sub­ject of My Record Col­lec­tion, and when we came up with the con­cept of long-run­ning comic strip Prog Boy, Fowler was first choice for vi­su­als.

But where does his love of prog start? “As a kid, comics and watch­ing car­toons were the big things for me,” he says, “and any­thing re­lated to mu­sic. 2000AD had that, and be­came a touch­stone. Mean­while, I was ex­posed to quite weird mu­sic at an early age and I’d say Jethro Tull’s Liv­ing In The Past planted a seed.”

Grow­ing up in Cardiff, Fowler had the mod­ern cul­ture of a cap­i­tal city around him, mixed with deep, Celtic his­tory. It was a haven for prog rock and psychedelia. “I had record shops in town such as Spillers and es­pe­cially Kellys,” he says. “A lot of peo­ple were in­ter­ested in prog and psych and you’d pick up great stuff all the time. Even know­ing that Rock­field Stu­dios was close by was such a buzz.”

Na­tive band Su­per Furry An­i­mals spot­ted

Fowler’s work in a free pa­per, and com­mis­sioned him to cre­ate the sleeve for Ra­di­a­tor [1997]. A part­ner­ship flour­ished from there. “I like their colour­ful point of view and play­ful an­gle,” he says. “Their in­flu­ences were across the board, and ex­otic. Work­ing with them lead to a lot of things.”

Fowler then cre­ated his own world of su­per furry crea­tures with his Mon­ster­ism con­cept and went on to col­lab­o­rate with bands such as Acid Moth­ers Tem­ple (“a walk­ing car­toon of a band!”) and chief Char­la­tan and ex­per­i­men­tal head Tim Burgess. Re­cently, Fowler has worked with CADW, the Welsh govern­ment’s his­toric en­vi­ron­ment ser­vice, on a project cel­e­brat­ing stand­ing stones, cas­tles and Welsh lit­er­a­ture. “It was called Weird And Won­der­ful Tales and we re-ex­plored the Mabino­gion [le­gends of 12th cen­tury Wales] over six lo­ca­tions with sto­ry­tellers and art,” he says. “Welsh folk­lore is well prog! Wizards, goblins, ladies of the lake, gi­ants… It was a re­ally im­por­tant project for me. I re­alised I’d been car­ry­ing these char­ac­ters around with me and draw­ing upon them my whole life.” JK

“Welsh folk­lore is well prog!”

PAINT­ING BY PROG: IL­LUS­TRA­TOR EX­TRAOR­DI­NAIRE PETE FOWLER.

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